- Online Training
As strength coaches, much of our job entails being creative in our utilization of available space, time, and equipment. Now throw into it a nationwide quarantine and our creativity is being pushed to its limits.
With our student-athletes going back home to limited space and equipment, how can we maximize their time, as well as foster a sense of community and competition that so often drives our offseason workouts? Here is what I have been doing with my teams the last 4 weeks, utilizing many of TeamBuildr’s great features.
What I did first was separate the teams into groups, for our Men’s Soccer team that meant 5 groups of 5 athletes. For me it was important to try to split up the groups evenly, because that made the distribution of points much easier. Now to attain points there are several categories:
Our weekly calendar looks like this:
The circuit lifts are a timed event. I wrote an 8-exercise bodyweight circuit that is done for 3 rounds, and the total time is recorded. Using the circuit option allows the athletes to submit their times down to the millisecond.
Then using the leaderboard feature, everyone receives a ranking, obviously the lower the ranking (golf rules), the better. Each 5-person team then has their individual rankings added up. For example, if the individuals in Team A ranked 1st, 5th, 7th, 13th, and 15th, their total ranking would be 41. This number would then be compared to the other 4 teams. 1st place (lowest ranking) garners 10 team points, 2nd - 8 points, 3rd - 6 points, 4th - 4 points, and 5th - 2 points. So a team could theoretically get 20 team points if they place 1st on both circuit days.
Another way to get points is through extra work. I write 2 SAQ workouts, a third “lift” day (which is all bodyweight exercises, but focusing on quality of movement and tempo), and a longer aerobic capacity conditioning day. Each time an athlete completes one of these extra workouts they receive 1 team point.
The third way to get points is through “food posts.” I shared with them this picture from Precision Nutrition that provides a general idea of what a balanced plate should look like. Athletes post a picture of their meal directly to the Team Feed. They can earn up to 1 point per day. I like doing this because it makes them conscious of what they are eating. If I can get them to eat some solid protein and a balanced meal at least once per day then that is a step in the right direction.
The fourth and last way to get points is through our discussion posts. At the beginning of the week I post a discussion question on the team feed that the athletes can respond to. For example, one week I wrote:
“Discussion of the Week: What are the changes you are making this offseason (physically, mentally, skill-wise) and how does that help you accomplish your personal (not team) goal for this upcoming season?”
Providing a thoughtful answer gets the individual 3 team points. This one is worth more points because it is only once a week and I want them to understand how important the mental and sport psychology is to improving as an athlete.
All this information is tallied up on a google sheet that is shared with the team. Along with the team points, I am also ranking the “top individual performer.” This is based on the total amount of individual points received. This is for everything other than the circuits; so SAQ, conditioning, lift 3, food, and discussion all count towards this. This shows that it is not only about being the best at the circuit, it is about being consistent and working to get better each day.
During this unprecedented time, it is hard to keep your athletes motivated. With limited access to gyms, parks, and the outside world, we as strength and conditioning coaches must be innovative in how we structure workouts.
Keeping communication consistent through TeamBuildr’s Team Feed, using the leaderboard to enhance competition, and getting athletes to think about the mental side of sport has worked so far for my teams. Also, by giving responsibility to team leaders to hold their group accountable, we are building a sense of leadership and community to try and bring out the best in the team. Hopefully you can take some of this information and apply it to your current situation.
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